Jul 22, 2021
By Lily Moayeri
Photography by Apple TV+
Twenty Emmy nominations—the most ever for the first season of a comedy—either puts a lot of pressure on Season Two of the multiple award-winning Ted Lasso, or sets the series up to carry on its razor-sharp comedy and inherent pathos.
Season One saw overly upbeat hayseed American Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis who is also co-creator, writer and producer) take over the coaching of flailing English Premier League football team, the fictitious AFC Richmond, alongside the expressionless and deadpan Coach Beach (Brendan Hunt, also co-creator and writer). Clueless about the sport, Coach Lasso is recruited by the brittle and bitter team owner Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham) to destroy Richmond in a revenge move against her ex-husband. This plan backfires with the irrepressible and charming Coach Lasso winning everyone over. Paradoxically, Richmond loses too many games under his guidance and ends up relegated.
Ted Lasso could have ended there as, relegation notwithstanding, the various storylines were concluded with satisfaction and the myriad of conflicts were all resolved. This is why Season Two starts dull. No drama among the lovey-dovey teammates. Gone are the days of viciousness between the gravelly-voiced and permanently angry Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) and the mouthy and insufferable Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster). There is an enviable comradery between management and coaches—nice Rebecca is so boring compared to vindictive Rebecca. The pain of broken marriages has significantly lessened. And there is a cross-section of positive and/or promising romantic relationships.
In the premiere episode Roy is coaching his niece’s under-nines losing football team and not curbing his potty mouth in the least. Jamie, the one-time star of Richmond and Manchester City is off the football pitch altogether. It’s both depressing and dreary. Welcome newcomer Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles) is the saving grace of this episode as a sports psychologist. Dr. Sharon—who apparently speaks the native tongues of all the various team members—has a magical touch that averts the low-level static with which this season begins.
Don’t let the blandness of this episode put you off Ted Lasso. The series reverts to its Season One glory, hitting its full stride by the end of the third episode of this 12-episode season.
Despite its title, Ted Lasso is an ensemble show. The entire supporting cast being nominated for Emmys is a testament to this. Juno Temple as influencer-turned-marketing-and-PR-maven Keeley was a sparkling and winning element of Season One. She continues to be her delightful self. Sam Obisanya (Toheed Jimoh) takes a central role this season, strong yet sweet. Higgins (Jeremy Swift) and his family are further developed and defined. Nate Shelley (Nick Mohammed) comes into his own. Roy gets better and better with each appearance. Even at the season’s shaky start, he holds it down with his no-nonsense, foul-mouthed proclamations. Thankfully for Ted Lasso, as the Richmond chant goes, “He’s here, he’s there, he’s every-fuckin’-where, Roy Kent, Roy Kent.”
While the conflicts of this season are of the easy-to-resolve variety, they are problematic enough to keep viewers involved. Hope runs high for Ted Lasso as the series has already been renewed for a third season. Ramp up those conflicts—without retreading the same ground over and over—and Ted Lasso will be an ongoing award-winner. (https://tv.apple.com/us/show/ted-lasso)
Author rating: 7/10
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